The 2023 Groundwater KIX-Start Competition is back again in search of country music’s next rising star! Held together with our friends from KIX Country, the competition is open to all country artists looking to showcase their talent, kick-start their careers and gain experience in this crazy but amazing industry!
With an incredible list of prizes this year, including a spot on the Groundwater Country Music Festival (CMF) 2023 lineup, we caught up with last year’s winner, Ella & Sienna, to see just how far the sisters have come since!
Hailing from Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Ella & Sienna bring together a unique blend of pop, country and folk within their captivating sibling harmonies.
Since winning the 2022 Groundwater KIX-Start competition, the sisters have released their debut EP ‘Seven Ways To Say You’re Fine’ back in March, and we got the chance to catch up with them in between their busy touring schedules to chat about how the competition has kick started their careers!
What has been the biggest change since winning the 2022 Groundwater KIX-Start competition?
Winning the 2022 Groundwater KIX-Start competition has helped us grow as artists, giving us more experience and confidence as performers, as well as continuing to help us break onto the scene.
We had never done a co-write before entering this competition, so to be able to write a song with an accomplished writer such as Phil Barton was an invaluable experience. From this we were able to create connections with other writers and gain more experience in this important side of the industry.
We also had the opportunity to record a song with Rod McCormack which was incredible and from that we created a track we are really proud of. The support we’ve received from radio stations, especially KIX Country, since entering the competition has been amazing and has allowed us to reach a bigger audience with our music.
What was your biggest learning from your one-on-one mentorship with Gina Jeffreys?
We received a lot of great advice through our one-on-one mentorship with Gina Jeffreys. As an accomplished artist who has been in the industry for decades, Gina had an incredible amount of knowledge to share with us which was especially valuable as emerging artists.
What was it like performing at Groundwater CMF and what can people expect to experience at the festival?
We’ve been fortunate to have played at quite a few festivals over the last couple of years but Groundwater CMF is definitely one of our favourites! To be on a lineup alongside all the other incredible accomplished artists was a dream come true. The entire atmosphere of the festival in sunny Queensland right on the beach was amazing, and the audience we were able to play to is something we won’t forget. We had the opportunity to open the Surf Parade Stage which was a bucket list moment for sure.
What song are you most proud of recording/writing?
It would have to be ‘The City in July’. This song was a last minute addition to the EP. We finished writing it the night before we went into the studio with Matt Fell and knew we had to record it. It started off as this piano ballad but came alive and turned into this anthem when we sung it in the studio. It’s a favourite because it was not planned to be a part of our first album but felt very right after we did it, and we really love the track.
How did you discover your love for singing/song writing?
We discovered our love for singing and songwriting when we were young kids. We always listened to music growing up with a range of artists that our parents listened to, from Nirvana to Pink, but we really fell in love with it when we discovered Taylor Swift.
Her earliest country albums were the first albums that we listened to religiously. Her relatable songwriting inspired us to write songs and to create music that makes people feel things and hopefully inspire them as well.
What are your top three road trip anthems?
Our top 3 road trip anthems are ‘That’s When’ by Taylor Swift ft. Keith Urban, ‘Keep Driving’ by Harry Styles and ‘Scarlett’ by Holly Humberstone.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
If we could collaborate with any artist it would have to be Taylor Swift because she is our biggest inspiration. It would be such an incredible experience to make music with the person who inspired us to start creating music.
What advice would you give to emerging, young artists considering entering the Groundwater KIX-Start competition?
We would definitely encourage young, emerging artists to enter this competition. From winning this competition we have received so many incredible opportunities that have allowed us to continue building a career in this industry. We would not be where we are today without this support.
We entered the Groundwater KIX-Start competition the year before and did not end up winning. However, from even being finalists we were able to grow our confidence and put ourselves out there again.
Whether you know someone eager to get a career boost or it’s yourself, the prize package for this year is one that will make a difference to any artist.
Plus, with judges like Lee Kernaghan, Casey Barnes, Gina Jeffreys, Rod McCormack and more, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to have your music listened to by some of the best country artists in the industry!
Applications close Sunday 17 September 2023, so spread the word!